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Vaginal fistula

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A medical condition in which a fistula forms between vagina to another organ


A vaginal fistula is an abnormal fistulation. A fistula refers to the abnormal formation of a passage or opening and in the case of vaginal fistula it is the occurrence of an abnormal passage or opening in the vaginal wall that communicates to another organ. Vaginal fistulae has different types:

  • vesiculovaginal fistula, i.e. a fistula between vagina and urinary bladder
  • ureterovaginal fistula, i.e. a fistula between vagina and ureters
  • urethrovaginal fistula, i.e. a fistula between vagina and urethra
  • rectovaginal fistula, i.e. a fistula between vagina and rectum
  • colovaginal fistula, i.e. a fistula between vagina and colon
  • enterovaginal fistula, i.e. a fistula between vagina and small intestine

Vaginal fistula develops as a result of injuries, surgeries, infections, or radiation treatments.1 It is sometimes used as a synonym of obstetric fistula. However, the latter is associated with vaginal fistula that results particularly from severe or failed childbirth especially when there is no adequate post-natal medical care. The United Nations Population Fund describes obstetric fistula as a childbirth injury largely neglected, and is usually caused by prolonged, obstructed labor. Accordingly, the sustained pressure of the baby's head on the pelvic bone of the mother during unassisted, prolonged, obstructed labor damages soft tissues, forming a fistula between the vagina and the bladder or rectum.2


  • obstetric fistula

See also:

1 Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Vaginal fistula. Retrieved from [|Link]
2 UNFPA. 2012. "When Pregnancy Harms: Obstetric Fistula". Retrieved from [|Link]